What kind of treatment comes to your mind first when your spine hurts? Probably, like most of us, a consultation with an orthopedist and then, most likely, physical therapy. Not many patients, as well as professionals in the field, realize that orthopedic problems may well be only the symptoms of internal organs disorder. For example, back pain does not necessarily mean a problem with the back itself, but a problem… with the liver.
One of the conditions most commonly observed by professionals and most frequently complained about by the broadest possible spectrum of patients is back and neck pain. Just about everyone has had at some point suffered from a “back problem.” But what’s really behind it? This is where we are getting to the essence of the issue. It could be anything. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis, revealing the true root cause of the symptoms is essential as only on its basis can we provide relevant, thus effective, treatment.
A few weeks ago we started the treatment of a patient who was referred to us with severe back pain. The patient complained of pain and muscle spasms on the right side of the lumbar section of the spine. The pain was radiating to the lower part of the chest and affecting his everyday life. After an evaluation, it turned out that the cause of the pain was not the spine itself but the malfunctioning of the vagus nerve (*), the duodenum, partially the liver, and the pancreas. The patient started rehabilitation based on manual therapy of deep fascia together with other physical therapy techniques that eliminated pain and spasms.
What is interesting, that after the detailed evaluation and manual exam, our therapist had also determined that one of the patient’s kidneys was sensitive to diagnostic palpation, which could indicate a problem within this organ. Sometime later, the patient was referred by his family doctor for comprehensive medical testing, which confirmed our opinion. He was diagnosed with a cyst in the kidney.
Another patient came with chronic low back problems. During the initial assessment, she complained of frequent (7-8 times) nighttime urination, which made it almost impossible to have a restful sleep. During the same visit, using the Counterstrain technique, our therapist was able to find and then address the problem that was caused by one of the nerves controlling the bladder. During the next visit, the happy patient reported that after so many months she finally was able to sleep all night through, waking up “only” 2 times this time.
These are just two examples of many patients primarily diagnosed with orthopedic problems which origins, however, do not come from the musculoskeletal system but are the result of malfunctioning of the internal organs and that can be treated with one of the physical therapy techniques.
Rehabilitation is most often equated with exercise and manual therapy (often, at first, perceived by patients as “massage” but in fact having little in common with traditional relaxation massage) to solve issues with joints and muscles. We rarely recognize it as a treatment that can help with internal organ disorders. However, such problems can indeed be effectively and painlessly treated with one of the most modern techniques administered by our therapists at P D Rehab – the Counterstrain technique.
It is not an understatement to declare Counterstrain as revolutionary and outright groundbreaking, different by far from all traditional rehabilitation methods. It is considered a new turning point in the physical therapy field as it is not based on techniques already in use. It is a gentle manipulation technique, effective in treating pain, limitations in strength, and range of motion of the ailing areas. The procedure is practically painless and can be applied to all body parts and systems. Therapists look for tender and painful diagnostic points on the patient’s head and body that correspond to specific organs and stimulate them in such a way as to relax the connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves around the corresponding painful organ. The treatment reduces pain and swelling and restores its full functionality. Depending on the complexity of the problem, the therapist may be able to decrease or eliminate it within only a few visits.
The Counterstrain technique greatly reduces the time and improves the precision of the treatment by finding and treating the cause of pain, which often allows avoiding any pharmacotherapy or invasive procedures.
(*) The vagus nerve (not to be confused with the vestibular) is a cranial nerve that, after exiting the skull, wanders between the internal organs of the neck, chest, and abdomen, innervating them. We are talking about the meninges on the back of the skull, glands, soft palate, throat, esophagus, lungs, heart, stomach, pancreas, liver, small intestine, and 2/3 of the large intestine.